Hope football team builds momentum under Stuursma

NCAA Football

HOLLAND, Mich. (WOOD) — When you beat the No. 24 team in the nation by 51 points, it’s bound to turn a few heads.  

The Hope College football team did that Saturday, blasting MIAA conference foe Trine.

But head coach Peter Stuursma, now in his fourth year, isn’t letting his team get too comfortable. He was as energetic as ever Wednesday afternoon during the Flying Dutchmen’s practice.

“The real world is going to ask you to get up every day and go, and get up every day and work,” Stuursma said. “Get up every day and achieve today.”

Hope’s team appeared to be doing that during practice. The players, as they usually do, were feeding off of their coach’s passion.

“He’s the heartbeat of our team. He gets us going every day,” quarterback Mason Opple, a Hudsonville native, said. “He’s the Energizer Bunny, if you will. I don’t think that dude has ever had a bad day.”

Wednesday certainly wasn’t one.

“I want us to always feel like we’ve always got something more to get better,” Stuursma said, “something more that we can improve on, something that we can just aspire to be.”

Given that Hope’s football team hasn’t won a league title since 2007 or appeared in the playoffs since 2006, there’s certainly plenty left to drive this group.  

“We’ve really turned the corner when we win a conference championship,” defensive end Jake Baab, a Caledonia native, said. “That’s not our end goal. It’s pretty fair to say that our goal is to win a national championship. It doesn’t matter what that goal is right now, though, because all we need to do is be focused on the next game.”

“Championship teams put their head down and go like crazy,” Stuursma said. “When they get to the end, they look back and go, ‘Wow. That was pretty fun.'”

Hope’s next test comes Saturday afternoon at Ray and Sue Smith Stadium when the Flying Dutchmen host Albion. Hope enters the game with a 3-1 overall record and 1-0 mark in the MIAA. Albion is also 3-1 but 0-1 in the league.

2019 MIAA standings (Oct. 10):

  • Olivet 4-0, 1-0
  • Alma 3-1, 1-0
  • Hope 3-1, 1-0
  • Adrian 2-2, 1-0
  • Albion 3-1, 0-1
  • Trine 3-1, 0-1
  • Kalamazoo 1-3, 0-1
  • Finlandia 0-1,0-4

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